It's the centre court at Wimbledon.
The big digital Rolex scorekeeper is blank.
No linesperson peering whether the ball is in or out.
No umpire somberly saying,”Quiet please,”
And no, Maria Sharapova isn't doing a practice run either.
Heck, we've arrived at Wimbledon centre court a month too early
Yes, we have. But those empty seats you see, aren't empty seats any more. Each one of them is fully paid-up, well in advance. Yup, you got it right first time. Each of those seats are pre-sold way before the event.
The movies do it.
Starbucks cards do it.
Sports events do it.
So why on earth, don't you pre-sell your product?
Why do you wait to smell the ink on your freshly printed books? Why do you wait to see the superb packaging on your information CDs and DVDs? Why do you wait to dot your I's and cross your T's when you're about to release an ebook?
I'll tell you why
Because you're doing the way things have always been done. The guy in the line before you, didn't pre-sell. He waited till every part of the product was ready to ship/deliver and only then, decided to put up the sale*s page and sell the products.
And the biggest reason is fear.
What if you don't finish the product on time? What if you don't ship on time? What if the customer gets mad and reports you to the authorities as a fraud?
The ‘what-ifs' swirl in your brain like whirlpool
Invariably those what-ifs suck you in and prevent you from the big advantages of pre-selling your product.
So let's get to the point, shall we?
Advantage No.1: Preselling puts an external deadline on you. The reason why Wimbledon, the Olympics and other events start spot on time, is because it's pre-sold. There's no deadline extension. Everyone works towards a focused, unrelenting goal. On the day you're supposed to release your product, your product is out without the endless procrastination and extensions. For a change, your projects actually get done on time.
Advantage No.2: Preselling funds your venture and relieves stress. If you are about to put out a product, there's nothing like 10,20 or 500 customers buying your product in advance. This takes the stress of “What if this whole thing fails?” and allows you to put in your forces into creating great content, great packaging and most importantly, takes away the stress of financing the venture.
Advantage No.3: Preselling gives you an insight into customer behaviour for the specific offering. What's causing customers to buy? What's causing them to hesitate? You can make all your adjustments by studying the response of your customer, long before you do the final launch of your product.
Which brings us to the disadvantages
Disadvantage No.1 What if you can't deliver on time?
In most cases, just an email or a letter to your customers will solve the problem instantly. Customers aren't ogres. They understand that things go wrong. They're prepared to wait a while, if things aren't working for you. But be sure to tell the customers exactly WHY you can't deliver on time.
And when you do deliver, send a little bonus to make sure the customer is compensated for the delay. If at any point, you can't deliver, it's quite simple to just refund the entire amount, and give a valid reason why you can't go through with the offer.
Disadvantage No.2: My competition will beat me to the market. Hmmmm…You're not inventing the Walkman, are you? Or Coke? Yes, your competition will be watching, but really, does it warrant the fuss? Your best chance of getting a product out in the market is to enter a market that already exists. Bill Gates didn't invent the OS you use today. Ipod weren't the first off the blocks with the mp3 player.
Instead of whining about how your product may be stolen by competition, seek to create products that already exist. A Google search that comes up blank, actually represents a big problem for you.
The problem of educating the market about your product.
So get off the fear trip. The same information can be presented in a totally different manner, and your competition won't have a clue till they actually get a copy of your product in their hands (If they get a copy, that is).
What you can Pre-sell:
1) Books: We've sold e-books long before they were actually written. The Brain Audit was pre-sold before it was completed. When we released the upgraded version of the Brain Audit, we pre-sold that as well.
2) Workshops: Yes, I know you know workshops are pre-sold. But we pre-sold six workshops in a row. You had to buy into all six workshops to avail of the bonuses/discounts offered. The workshops were conducted from Feb to June, and were pre-sold six months prior in August. So it was not just a pre-sell but a bundled pre-sell too!
3) Consulting: Our consulting sessions are always pre-sold. The customer pays for the consulting at least a whole month before the event begins.
4) Membership sites: Before we started up 5000bc.com, we pre-sold the site to our existing customers. We didn't have a single article, there was no new design, and in effect 5000bc didn't exist at all. Yet, customers bought into the product well before a single line of code was put together.
Don't just sit there reading this article…
I know you haven't written a word of your book. Or done a single slide of that presentation for your workshop.
Pre-sell your product.
Once the first customer pays you, you'll have all the motivation you need to make sure you deliver!